Innovative employment idea matches a Treasure Coast

senior community with non-profit

For decades, senior citizens have flocked to Florida to retire and enjoy their work-free lives near the ocean, under the shade of palm trees. Currently, more than 4.5 million people over the age of 65, call the Sunshine state home. And that number is steadily rising.

There are senior living communities scattered across the state. And there’s one in particular called Sandhill Cove in Martin County, that sounds like paradise on earth. This resort-style senior living community sits on the St. Lucie River waterfront, near Stuart and Port St. Lucie County. Besides the attractive views, this senior sanctuary offers a maintenance-free lifestyle, with services and amenities designed for healthy, active living.

Finding workers at Sandhill Cove has been challenging following the pandemic, so recently the community signed on to collaborate with the ARC of the Treasure Coast. ARC stands for Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged. It’s a 501 (c) (3) non-profit dedicated to empowering children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their fullest potential through residential, educational, behavioral, and vocational services.

Some of ARC’s developmentally challenged adults will participate in internships of their choice at Sandhill Cove including food service, housekeeping, laundry services, groundskeeping, property maintenance, customer service, fitness, and leisure activities. This unique opportunity is part of the ARC’s newly launched Project SEARCH Adult program.

The training program is funded through the Florida Developmental Disability Council and awarded through the Florida RESPECT program. The state provides the funding and ARC’s Advanced Employment Services program, AES, provides support, and job coaching so these special folks can improve their skill set, build confidence, and develop independence through an intensive employment training program.

“This is a great opportunity for our community of developmentally and intellectually challenged adults. They get the chance to experience the dignity of work and the pride of self-reliance in a safe and accepting environment of patient and caring senior citizens,” said Keith Muniz, President, and CEO of the ARC of the Treasure Coast. “We are grateful to Sandhill Cove for this new partnership.”

While the ARC folks won’t get paid for their internships, Sandhill Cove can hire them at any time during or after the internship. If they are not hired by Sandhill Cove, then ARC Job Coaches will find employment for them elsewhere.

ARC of the Treasure Coast partners with other companies and organizations including the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation, the Florida Department of Corrections, and other public and private sector businesses to produce workers for jobs that have been difficult to fill in these challenging times. The experience benefits the workers but also the seniors who need these services to maintain a certain quality of life.

This collaboration is designed to produce long-lasting and supportive relationships for everyone involved and successful long-term employment outcomes in the healthcare industry for the individuals in the Project SEARCH Adult program. Innovative ideas that keep Florida on the cutting edge.

For more information, please contact the ARC at

Keith Muniz is President and CEO of the ARC of The Treasure Coast which was renamed on January 1, 2023, when the ARC of Martin County and the ARC of St. Lucie County merged. The ARC, (Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering children and adults with I/DD through residential, vocational, educational, behavioral, and other healthcare services.


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